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Tell me Your Number One question about relationships and I’ll offer my best advice.

Why can’t we just be friends?–Q&A Intimacies


If you know that the person you’ve been dating for a year doesn’t want a serious relationship with you, but you still like her or him, does it make sense to keep her or him as a friend? — JP


Breaking up is hard to do, especially after a whole year. But if you would prefer that your relationship with that particular person be serious–get the hell out of Dodge. It’s better to break it off right away, feel the sting of separation and recover your perspective–so you can find a new relationship with someone who can relate to you seriously.  You aren’t going to change your friend’s feelings and you may only delude yourself into thinking you can, postponing or prolonging the eventual disappoint.

Some people, especially men, I think, will propose, ‘Can’t we can still be friends?’ as a way to soften the blow of an ended. It’s just the polite thing to say. Usually, after a couple agrees to split up yet remain friends, in time, priorities shift and they choose not to spend as much time with each other, they aren’t as open as before and the calls stop coming.

If, on the other hand, the lack of romantic interest is pretty mutual—if neither of you want to have a serious relationship with each other and won’t be subject to fits of jealousy or unrequited longing, you need not cut off a working friendship just because you aren’t ever going to exchange wedding vows with each other. If neither of you want more from each other than each is willing to offer, if you both agree that the match isn’t serious,  you need not lose all the stability and familiarity you’ve developed together.

A key consideration is what you mean by “keep her or him as a friend.” Usually, that means eliminating the romantic or sexual component of a relationship, if it ever existed. A  relationship can shift from sexual to platonic only if there is no longer a sexual attraction between you, mutual or one-sided. And an absence of mutual attraction would validate the choice to not get serious about the relationship.

A less-common option is to remain a sexual friend. You may find a sexually compatibility with someone, but not have enough going  on in the other departments that you can share. Some people maintain “Friends With Benefits” as a fall back and insurance against lonely nights. But to have a sexual relationship that doesn’t restrict either party from seeking new partners, an open, polyamorous relationship, is not for the faint of heart. In order to succeed and still be real friends,  you each must truly be able to see the other one get into a new relationship, you must watch your ex fall in love and you must not be jealous. If you could truly dance for joy at the marriage  of your friend (to someone else), by all means maintain that friendship. But, as a real friend, you will respect the need for space and no contact, for at least half a year, if It is requested.

Be careful that you don’t use your loyalty to your friend as an excuse for not getting out, meeting new people and starting to foster fresh relationships. After a year spent dating someone, the relationship has made you a bigger person. You no longer need to feed on that former relationship to support or validate who you are. You bring yourself and all that that you’ve learned to this point to the nourish the relationships that will manifest through the years that remain stretched  ahead of you.

Enjoy the Intimacies.


Wake Up from the Sex Stupor

Q: My wife isn’t interested in sex anymore. We still have it for a short time a few times a week, but I don’t think she enjoys it. I find her very exciting, but she doesn’t respond. What should I do? — Andrew C.

A: Dear Andrew,

If your wife is no longer getting off, and if you have sex that frequently for a short time, it sounds as if she is simply trying to fulfill what she may feel are her conjugal duties. If she’s not reaching orgasm, but you are, the focus of your lovemaking may have shifted from an spontaneous expression of sexual attraction to getting you to climax so she can just have it over with.

Try to shift your intention. Instead of focusing on your own response, focus on hers. Making love can be more than mastubation with the help of a friend. For example, when you touch her breasts, find a way to do it that gives her deep pleasure rather than simply copping a squeeze to get your own jollies. For a while, as an experiment, make it your goal to give her a great experience, rather than being off in your own world, what’s known as a sex stupor.

Pay attention to she what she responds to and if her response is positive or negative. Listen to her grunts and groans when she makes them and feel where she’s taught or moist. Do you still spend time on foreplay? If she performs fellatio, do you reciprocate? Take your time. Make sure you are both fully ready for penetration before you engage in it. Many men have erections that stand up okay, but their sexual energy is low and they misfire on a short fuse. If your ardor isn’t radiating out your appendage, she’s not going to get a charge from having it inside of her. When you join, make sure you are connected physically in an embrace that contains her whole body and being, rather than just her genitalia.

Try various approaches, not the same old bump and grind. Ask her what she likes. She’ll clue you in, if she thinks there’s a possibility of change and you would follow through, giving it to her the way she says she would enjoy it. Be willing to role play just for fun. Some women need more time for arousal, especially as they get older. Contain your energies so that you don’t spill the juice before she’s ready to soak it up. You may have to be supportive of her even before you get it on by helping to dispel the worries of the day so she can be relaxed and open to sexual activity when you do get together. Let her know that you want to find new ways to turn her on and she’d be a fool not to take you up on the offer.

Enjoy the intimacies.